Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Ignore

In our lives we ignore things on a daily basis.  THOUSANDS of things.  The voice in the office next to yours, the nagging ache in your back, phone calls and emails of people we don't want to deal with, dirty dishes in the sink and a floor that needs mopping, the homeless man on the street with his sign.  We are almost programed to ignore that which is uncomfortable or unpleasant.  And its easy to do.  Our own lives are complicated enough without adding other people's problems or issues to them.  There is always something more pressing to do. 

Today, I am asking your not to ignore.  For me-  I've been ignoring our diagnosis of infertility.  It is easier not to talk about it, not to share and not to have to deal with the thousands of questions that come from it.  But easy is not why God put us on this earth.  Easy is going with the flow and not standing up for one's self and the thousands of others. 

It is national infertility awareness week and RESOLVE has challenged the millions like myself and Jim to write a blog called "Don't Ignore".  Infertility is still a "dirty" word in this country and it is time for that to stop.  Too many people are left in shadows with shame over something that wasn't their fault and there is MEDICAL procedures to help with.  There has not even been a single media coverage of the event of any substance.   It is time to stop ignoring.

Currently only 15 states require fertility treatments to be covered by insurance for this disease (and yes, it is a disease.  A documented disease of which its patients have little control over).  As a conservative I hate Government meddling in business affairs- but I also realize how little insurance companies want to cover. I saw in Florida where they did not even want to be mandated to cover therapies for Autistic children- and this year even made a play to have that removed.  While I am completely OK with insurance companies (and any company for that matter) making a profit-  even an obscenely large profit- if you are in the business of covering diseases- you should cover all of them and not get to pick and choose- and I am OK with paying more for that coverage.

Jim and I are in a tough battle and it is not even remotely over. It has created more challenges than I ever thought we would face in our entire marriage- much less the first year and a half.  It has been emotionally, physically and financially draining.  Dreams have had to be altered and faith has been shaken.   So today, I am asking not for sympathy or pity, not even for kind words.  I am asking for your prayers and for you to stop ignoring.  Stop ignoring your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, and your family.  We all deserve that. 

  • (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
  • (About NIAW)
  • Monday, April 23, 2012

    The dreaded 2WW

    The dreaded 2WW, or two week wait, is ferociously upon us.  This is that time when there is NOTHING for me to do other than my nightly progesterone shots (and Jim gives me those).  Today I went back to the office and so things are on their "normal" pattern- but I feel anything but normal. (BTW- writing this on my lunch hour, none work time). 

    For the past two weeks I either worked from Gainesville, from the house or took sick leave- and so for the past two weeks I've worn sweat pants.  Really that is all I could have worn anyway as my belly was so bloated from the drugs and the over sized ovaries.  Today I am dressed in "work" clothes- and I am completely uncomfortable.  I think my feet must be swollen because my shoes are tight.  That and my belly is still really poochy.  Of course I am going to blame my belly size on these meds for the rest of my life- need something positive!! 

    I think that is the hardest thing right now-  remaining positive.  I am so lucky that I have good friends to help me through this.  Molly, who has been there- done that, and has the daughter to prove it!  Our neighbor Kerry who has been my sounding board each night and weekend- and who took care of Cracker for us (and the garden) while we were in Gainesville.  And so many more people who have done little things without even knowing it.  But even with all that its hard to be positive.  I want to prepare myself for the worst- but I'm afraid that might jinx us. 

    The 2WW is filled with time that seems endless- and since your Dad is traveling a lot for work this week it already seems lonely.  I miss spending every day with him. 

    Hopefully I won't freak myself out too much while trolling the Internet for every fact and statistic under the sun on 5 day embryo transfers....but we will see.  I have been known to go overboard on this type of thing before. 

    With much love,


    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    My "Fair" Ladies

    On April 18th we got up at 3:45am to get ready to travel to Shands for our embryo transfer.  I have to admit I was pretty excited- today was the day!!! 

    The last time we talked to Jessica we had 6 strong embryos and had lost 2 of the fertilized eggs.  But that number was still really positive.  Since we were doing a day 5 transfer (many IVF transfers are done on day 3) I knew the doctors would recommend only transferring 1 embryo.  But we had decided we wanted to transfer 2 and then freeze the rest. 

    We got to the hospital right on time- and my Valium had kicked in so I was feeling REALLY good.  Feeling like an old pro when Sue met us we went to the operating rooms, and were ready for the transfer before I knew it. 

    The wheeled me into the operating room and your Dad was able to be with me this time.  He looked cute in his "scrubs" but would not let me take a picture.  I was still really calm and ready for the transfer.  When the embryologist came out to tell us about the embryos I was sure we were about to get good news-  but we didn't.  At least I did not take it as good.

    There were only 3 embryos left.  One was not good and was not recommended for transfer at all.  The other two were Ok-  one was good enough for transfer and one was just "ok".  That was it.  My 6 strong embryos were now down to 1 and kinda 1.  Because one of them was just iffy they were Ok transferring 2.  Then I made the mistake of asking the "grade". 

    The grading system they use is "good", "fair" and "poor".  The 2 viable embryos were "fair".  Really? Just fair?  I started to cry.  At that point you could tell the Dr. was annoyed with the embryologist-  she was very quick to tell us that "fair" was still really good and we still had a good chance of getting pregnant.  But your over achieving mother is not happy with fair.  So I was instantly deflated and the rest of the transfer was fairly despondent. 

    The transfer was probably the easiest thing in this whole process.  It didn't hurt and took seconds, literally.  The cool part was that Sue gave us a picture of the embryos after they had been transferred into the uterus.  The big black blob is my very full bladder, underneath and to the left is a little while comet looking thing-  that's You!!  Our two embryos. 

    So after the transfer I spent another 15 minutes or so dangling upside down like and after that I was good to go.   On all my fertility forums everyone talks about bed rest for days.  But all the research I have read says no need- so I decided to take a modified approach.  I took the rest of the week off and I am taking it easy.  Laying around, reading books, watching TV-  basically doing things that I will never have time to go again once we have you!  I'm also STALKING the Internet on every possible symptom- when I can take an at-home pregnancy test (even though the doctors tell you not too). 

    I've been cramping all night and most of the day- but everything online says that is normal.  My ovaries are still very large and cramping is expected. 

    Since our lovely embryos only graded "fair"- I have taken to calling you "my fair ladies".  I think its funny (your Dad does not because what if you are a boy?) and maybe a little bad too-  I had a calf named My Fair Lady once...she passed away- so I hope I didn't jinx us!  But then again- you were retrieved on Friday the 13th-  jinxing isn't possible. 

    My Fair Ladies

    Now we begin the waiting game-  since I have finally decided to share this blog with my family and friends I am not going to put the date of our pregnancy test.  Mostly because I can't stand the thought of all the calls or texts we would get on that day and how to tell them "no" if we aren't pregnant.  It isn't something I want to think about or even deal with.  But I will take my waiting as best as I know how...and try my best to be positive and know that my fair ladies are safely growing. 

    With much love,


    Monday, April 16, 2012

    One day till Embryo Transfer

    I can not believe how quickly the last few days have gone by!!  As long and slow as the process seems- once things got moving it really did go by quickly.

    Right now I am waiting on the final report from the clinic on the condition of our embryos- but yesterday things were looking pretty good. 

    We had the egg retreival on Friday the 13th!!!!  But I think it was a lucky day.  Out of the 40 or so follicles I had, only 11 mature eggs were harvested.  I am not going to lie-  that was really really really painful.  Even though I was sedated and had some pain medication it hurt.  Basically they use a really large needle, poke holes in your vaginal wall to get to your ovaries to suck out the follicles/eggs.  It hurt and I cried.   I hate crying.  I hate seeming to be like a baby.  But in the end it was worth it to get 11 eggs.

    Out of the 11 eggs they only attempted to fertilize 10.  From there 9 fertilized, but only 8 fertilized normally. 

    The report on Sunday said that we still have 5 embryos growing at normal pace, and the other 3 were a little slower.  However, they all had extremely thick shells.  I think its a good indication that you are going to be hard headed- but with our genetics that was a given I think!!!  Since they all have thick shells we are going to have to do assisted hatching.  In assisted hatching they use a laser to "crack" the embryo and up the chances of it implanting in the uterus. 

    We are doing Day 5 transfer (meaning 5 days past egg retrevial)- which I thought would be bad- but all the research I have done indicates its good.  It seems that it isn't till Day 5 that the embryo would be introduced into the uterus anyway-  so this is more normal than Day 3 transfers and it gives them the best chance to determine which 2 embyros are the strongest. 

    I am trying not to get too excited right now-  but its hard not too!!  I just know you will be our little Christmas baby-  more proof of God's love for us. 

    With much love,


    P.S.  spell check isn't working- so ignore my "hooked on phonics" mistakes

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Trigger Day!!!

    In your life- trigger will probably be only referred to when we are discussing guns.  Your Dad is a big hunter and both of us grew up in "outdoorsy" homes- so guns are not something you won't be exposed too.  However, today, when I "pulled the trigger" it was to give myself the HCG shot that will allow all the follicles that I have growing to release so that they can be harvested on Friday.

    Your Dad called me his Grand Champion Laying Hen (this sealed the deal for your first 4-H project btw)- and that's what I feel like right now.  On my right ovary I have 5 good size follicles and 8 smaller ones.  On my left ovary I had 18 good size follicles and 10 smaller ones.  Overall right now I am a very productive egg producer. 

    I am really excited today-  I pray that God lets one of these many eggs be you.  I can already imagine it....

    With much love,


    Monday, April 9, 2012

    Inching forward

    This morning was a great appointment for blood work and an ultrasound.  Dr. Williams and our regular nurse were not there- but Sue was and she performed the ultra sound.  Sue, either because she is female or because she is a nice person, is a LOT more talkative than Dr. Williams.  She made my day when she first saw my left ovary and said, "Wow! Lots of follicles on this one!  This is really good!".  Dr. Williams is much more clinical. 

    Long story short-  I have 20+ follicles on the left ovary (12 of which are good sized) and I have 8 follicles on the right ovary (4 of which are good sized) and I am really coming along well.  I don't have the results from my blood work yet- but according to Sue (which will always make me think of Johnny Cash) we are looking like we may be set for the trigger shot on Wednesday!!!  Woo Hoo!!! 

    For the first time I am really excited!  I mean super excited!  It does mean about another week of doctor's appointments (and I am really ready to go home) but I'm happy that we have made progress.  Now here is to hoping your Dad's swimmers have been properly preparing themselves. 

    With much love,


    Friday, April 6, 2012

    As the world turns

    Your grandmother didn't graduate from college until I was in middle school.  Of course she didn't stop there, went on to get her Masters and start on her doctorate- but that was when I was older and your Uncles John and Adam were a little bit older too. 

    But when I was a kid she was a stay-at-home Mom.  She was really lucky in that way.  I remember lots of friends and lots of stuff to do- I have no clue how they did it.  I remember once Mom saying Dad made $500/week.  It seemed like so much money then, but now it seems impossible to have lived on, much less had 3 kids and only one income. 

    One of my memories as a kid was my Mom's soap operas.  She watched CBS-  so "As the World Turns", "Guiding Light" and "The Bold and the Beautiful".  Not sure how I know all of this since soap opera time was nap time.  Once I pretended to sleep walk, under my blue blankie (which I have with me today at Uncle Adam's-  30 years later and its still what I want when I'm scared) into the den and plopped down on the floor to watch the soaps.  In my memory Mom didn't say a word-  not sure how it really went down though :-)

    What I remember about this soap operas was that each day was the same and seemed painfully boring to me- but the events were high drama and high stakes.  That's how these days feel to me right now, boring, each the same yet high stakes. 

    Dad and I moved into Uncle Adam's yesterday.  It is a trailer in the trailer park that I lived in during college, Uncle John and your Aunt Melissa too.  Oak Park Village (affectionally called AGR West and Okeechobee North) used to be a pretty cool little trailer park.  Now its pretty much sketchy and scary.  Uncle Adam is cheap.  So he doesn't have any cable or tv.  So after my blood work yesterday we just kinda sat around the trailer until it was time to go to lunch.  Then came back and sat around the trailer until it was time to go get food for dinner.  Then sat around the trailer until your Dad went stir crazy and we went bowling.  This morning I'm sitting around the trailer, working on the computer but bored to death and I can't fathom a week more of this. 

    Yesterday was just blood work.  But my levels went up by more than 100%.  My first E2 (estridol) was 58- but yesterday it was 174.  This makes me very happy.  It also makes my stomach very odd feeling.  But no pain no gain right? 

    No doctors appointments today (Friday) but we do have another one on Saturday.  This one will be blood work and my first ultra sound so we can start figuring out the size and true number of follicles I have.  The more the merrier (and better).  We also have an awards breakfast for your Dad- who is a UF Young Alumni of the Year followed by the orange and blue game.  Hey-- this is going to be your first Gator football game!!!  Of course you are just a growing egg- but we will take it.  After the football game we are going to walk to the UF vs LSU baseball game. 

    So, as the world turns today, I will be sitting in this trailer, hoping that you are growing and producing lots of estridol. 

    With much love,


    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    2, 4, 23, 38, 46 Mega Ball = 23

    Last week the largest lottery jackpot in the history of all lotteries ($640 million) was won by 3 people.  Your Dad and I actually drove up to Georgia after an appointment at Shands to buy tickets.  The winning numbers were not our numbers- so we both are still going to work each day.  But really- life is all about the numbers. 

    The day we bought our Mega Millions tickets we started our day in Gainesville.  That day I had good numbers.  7 antral follicles on 1 ovary and 10 on the other.  My hormone levels were officially suppressed and I was given the go ahead to start stimulation medicine. 

    They decreased my 20mm of Lupron down to 5mm and I added 200mm of Follistim and 1 vial of Repronex.  This combination of numbers are supposed to stimulate my follicles into development. 

    Yesterday we went back to Gainesville for another round of blood work and those numbers were not so great.  I had asked the phlombotomist what a good estridiol level would be.  She said she would be happy with 100.  It never occurred to me that I wouldn't have that level.  I've responded well to every medication given me- I have no known issues.  So when Jessica called and said my E2 level was only 58 I was devastated.  They upped my Follistim to 250mm and I will come in for blood work on Thursday again.  Not blood work and ultrasound. 

    The 58 number causes another number- 508.  The amount of money we will need to spend to get more Follistim.  Assuming the pharmacy opens up again after the tornadoes in Texas.  It also adds at least 2 days to our cycle.  I know I am not a patient person- but it seems cruel of God to extend this ordeal.  Of course it seems cruel of God that we even have to do this.  But the Lord works in mysterious ways and I learned long ago to never question him. 

    Tomorrow when we go back to Gainesville for my blood work we go back for the duration (or at least until egg retrieval).  I am praying for better numbers so that we can see you soon...



    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    We're Stimming stimming

    Things are getting exciting around here now o child of mine.  Yesterday I started my "stimulation" medicine.  Or "stims" as the fertility forums call them.  These will take my now suppressed ovaries and put them into super ovulation mode.  This week during my ultra sound we have an initial 17 antral follicles.  We could end up with more- but my nurse said that's a good number to start with.  The meds I am on now, Repronex and Follistim, will help to mature as many of those follicles as possible.  During a normal cycle only one- or maybe two- will mature.  Our goal is too have as many mature as possible, so we can fertilize as many as possible so we can hopefully have the very best embryos to chose from. 

    I am also still on the Lupron so that I don't ovulate early.  That makes three shots- but luckily I get to mix the Lupron with the Repronex and only have two shots.  I'm hoping that now that my Lupron dose is much lower my headaches will go away.  I've basically had a headache non-stop since I started it-  11 days ago.  That hasn't been the case yet- but its only day 2 of the lower dose.  The shots are interesting.  I wasn't sure I could give them to myself at first.  And each time I go to give myself a shot I kinda freak myself out a little.  The Lupron didn't really hurt that much- just itched a little afterwards.  My new mixture of Lupron/Repronex burns when I am injecting it and then feels fine.  The follistim itches and burns for about an hour afterward. 

    We aren't sure how long we will be "stimming"- it could be as short as 6 days or as long as two weeks.  It basically means lots of trips to Gainesville and at the end of this week we are going to just take Polly and go live with your Uncle Adam for a few days.  Gas is now at $4/gallon and even with my fake SUV its expensive to drive back and forth. 

    We are getting close little one.  I will keep praying for our positive outcome so we can meet before the year is over.


    Your very emotional mother